Teaching is hard. Parenting is hard. But there’s something about the combination, going from your own children to other children and back to your own children, that is its own particular kind of grind. Teacher mom problems, am I right? Below, just some of the things only teacher moms understand.
1. The agonizing pain of homework.
You spend an hour of study hall forcing eighth graders to do algebra against their will. You listen to the whining and the arguing and the “why do I even have to learn this?” And then you go home to your sanctuary of peace and comfort. Where another thirty minutes (or more!) of practicing spelling words, completing worksheets, and making a &*%#ing diorama that is due tomorrow awaits you.
2. The value of adult conversation.
There are so many fart jokes in your day, you’re starting to think of them before the kids do. You see multiple people pick their noses in a 12-hour period. You can go from before breakfast until your kids’ bedtime without discussing anything more advanced than, “Why did God make armpits?” Personally, I’ve been known to run an extra hundred front/back copies just so I could hang out in the workroom with adults for a little while instead of grading papers.
3. The guilt.
I know every working mom deals with mom guilt. But there’s a particular kind of guilt that comes when you work with other people’s children. Especially if their needs are greater than those of your own kids, which they inevitably will be at times. So, you feel guilty missing your offspring’s class party because you had to be at work, but you also feel guilty reading your own kid a bedtime story in their cozy bed when you just found out that one of your students is homeless, or is being taken from their parents by CPS.
4. The lack of predictable nutrition.
One day you skip breakfast because your own kid’s need to poop for 30 minutes made you late. The next, you eat all day at the class party and then finish your kids’ chicken nuggets because you got the wrong kind of sauce. Feast or famine.
5. The need for bathroom breaks.
I know that this one is universal to teachers, but try going from 10:45 lunch period to the end of the school day without peeing when you’ve recently evicted a ten-pound human via your lady basement. One sneeze in an afternoon class could be disastrous, and God forbid anybody makes you laugh.
6. The ability to commit the perfect crime.
I have no fingerprints. None. When you work with 90 germy children and come home to a baby, you go through rivers of hand sanitizer and miles of Clorox wipes. I’ve used every moisturizer known to man, but unless they come up with something that has the regenerative powers of a starfish, my hands will never be the same.
7. The feeling of raising a celebrity.
Well, I guess a few other people would understand this. Like Justin Bieber’s mom and the parents on Toddlers and Tiaras. I tell stories about my six-year-old at school all the time, and when my students are actually around him, he’s like visiting royalty. I drag him to a lot of school functions, and everyone wants to share their candy with him or teach him new soccer skills. This kid has a hundred big brothers and sisters, and he loves it.
8. The need for a giant bag.
My pocketbook generally holds a paperback, a couple of diapers, hand sanitizer, and my complete grade book, among other things. I am constantly prepared for any eventuality. Need a snack? Have some yogurt melts I packed for the baby! Last week, a student came to me and asked if I happened to have a small toy train for a video he was filming. I did.
9. The moment you forget how to code switch.
You threaten your own kid with detention. You spell something you don’t want your students to understand when talking to a colleague…even though they’re in ninth grade. And everybody else has told a student, “I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it,” right? Right?
10. Your own capacity for awesomeness.
You love your kids to distraction, like everybody else. And then you love other people’s kids, too. The patience and attention and grace under pressure that your own kids endlessly demand have to stretch to cover all those kids you teach as well…and they do. You provide support and love and a safe haven for a whole lot of little humans, both those you brought into the world and others.
So, keep on keeping on, teacher mom. It won’t ever get easy, but it’ll never be boring!
PLUS: Here’s something that could make your teacher mom grind a little easier. Save a little time and money by using Walmart Online Grocery Pickup. Simply shop online at Walmart.com/grocery and select the Walmart store nearest you that offers the online grocery pickup feature (it’s available in over 100 stores nationwide).
What teacher mom problems would you add to the list? Please share in the comments below.